Renovation work continues to take shape at the 24-story Victor F. Lawson House at 30 W Chicago Avenue in Near North Side. The Art Deco high rise was originally designed by Perkins, Chatten & Hammond and completed in 1931. Developer Holsten Real Estate will be deconverting the former YMCA from 538 single room occupancy units into 408 affordable apartments. In exchange for keeping all on-site units affordable until at least 2073, the project received both low income housing tax credits and $12.4 million in historic preservation tax credits. Holsten Real Estate has also received a $17.6 million loan from the city, a $79.4 million loan from Chase Bank, and a $17.2 million loan from the Illinois Housing Development Authority. Past SRO tenants will be given priority to move back into the building once the renovation is complete. In the meantime, as noted by a 2021 press release from the city’s website, “Current tenants can choose to be temporarily relocated during the estimated 30-month construction period or instead choose to be permanently relocated elsewhere based on the terms of the Uniform Relocation Act.”
The new units will receive private kitchens and baths as part of the deconversion from shared living areas, as well as HVAC upgrades and in-unit air conditioning. Amenities will include the renovation of the existing gymnasium into a fully-equipped fitness center. The main entrance will also be moved from Chicago Avenue to the Dearborn cross street. Further programming will also include a social services and retail component on the ground level. Outside, the original limestone facade will be maintained and refurbished, with Farr Associates serving as architectural oversight.
Lawson House will provide its residents with various nearby transit options, such as bus stops for Routes 22, 36, and 66 all within a single block. Those looking to board the CTA Red Line will find Chicago station less than a minute’s walk east. A multitude of Divvy Bike stations and bike lanes also permeate the vicinity.
Walsh Construction is serving as general contractor for the $122 million transformation, with work expected to wrap up in 2024.